The worst date that 80-year-old Lois can recall was watching a boring curling game while her date drank at the bar.
Fast forward to the present day: the worst date that 24-year-old Katty can remember was being poked in the stomach with a biscotti at Starbucks while getting asked how much she weighed, and then having her butt squeezed in public as her date (who insisted on wearing his sunglasses inside) said, “niiiiiice.” (They met on Tinder.)
So what does a good date look like? “Ahhh. The spontaneity. The timing. The adventure, and of course – the cheesecake.” That is how 24-year-old Blanca describes the best date she had ever been on in New York City.
“We got to talking, and ended up going bar-hopping all over Manhattan and ended the night at Jewish delicatessen where we devoured two massive slices of cheesecake, drank more coffee than is socially acceptable at 4:00 AM, and then snuck onto the hotel rooftop (it was closed off because it was winter) to cap the night off with an awe-inspiring view of the Empire State Building.”
Blanca’s only hope now is that she finds him, or someone like him, online. “We live in a digital age where we have access to more options than ever before, so in a way, it’s easier than ever to find romance.”
On a dating app, your profile can say anything, but what you actually do speaks a lot louder. That’s exactly why newer dating apps are re-thinking the models of the old dogs. For example, new dating app SuperDate wants to weed out the losers by melding modern-world technology with old school mentalities of romance.
The SuperDate app matches users with a variety of awesome date ideas and others who share the same interests in those outings. From adventurous excursions to restaurant hopping, all activities encourage memorable experiences and are based on what Vancouverites consider ‘superdates.’
The desire to find companionship hasn’t changed, but the way in which we find it has – drastically.
“Dating when there were no phones was very different,” says Lois. “Everybody went to the Friday night dance in town. A guy would ask you to dance – maybe several times – and then invite you to have a midnight lunch with him (and heaven forbid ask you outside to have a beer). He’d escort you home after the dance – it could be miles to your folks’ home.”
Nowadays, all that requires in getting to know someone is scrolling through a profile.
In the late 1940s – a time more familiar to Lois – it was all about emulating the silver screen romance. The kiss between Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant in Hitchcock’s film “Notorious” is considered the most erotic scene in classic movie history; a sign of the times.
With the creation of dating site PlentyOfFish in 2003, Facebook in 2004, Snapchat in 2011, and Tinder in 2012, these days you’d be lucky to know someone’s name before a misguided sexual advance is catapulted your way.
That’s not to say it’s all bad or awkward, but in our current dating culture, it’s undeniable that expectations are in constant flux and authenticity is always up for debate.
For someone like Taelore (23) a filter system that aligned her common interests with her date could have helped her avoid a train wreck.
“I once gave a guy my number while drunk at a bar, [long story short] he brought me to a live music pub thinking it was a band playing but it turned out to be a live erotic lesbian show. It was the most awkward hour of my entire life and in the end he tried to kiss me with his garlic breath,” she says. “I do not think that online dating is ruining romance, it is simply the logical way to set up a meeting with a possible compatible partner.”
It’s about looking before you leap, says 91-year-old Lillian about online dating. “In my day you were married before engaging in sex. Today, as my daughter says, ‘you don’t buy shoes until you try them on.’”
78-year-old Jeanie agrees. “Youth today are so informed about sexual behavior and have much more self confidence,” she says.
Randy Carlson, who at 59-years-old has lived through both the old and new ways of dating, says searching for love online has changed things for the better.
“You can get somewhat of a sense of what a person is like online,” he says. “That said, I’ve found some women put things on their profiles that they think men want to see, like pictures that were taken when they were way younger.”
However, Katty of the terrible Tinder date thinks that something substantial is lost through modern methods of communication.
“I have talked to guys for weeks and then within seconds of meeting them in person, I knew it wasn’t going to work out, and not just because of something they said, but the chemistry through nonverbal communication,” she says. “That is lost in online dating.”
Sure – a conversation can unfold online over months, but the very nature of a face-to-face encounter provides a chance to see a deeper side of someone because they have to respond in the moment, rather than carefully crafting a response via message.
That’s why newer dating apps like SuperDate are encouraging the real life meet-up to happen sooner rather than later.
It’s time to put down the phone, get offline and break away from the chains of cryptic emojis, late night sexting, and ambiguity. After all, memories last longer than mundane messages.
This article was originally published on the SuperDate Blog.